Madagascar stadium stampede kills 16 during celebrations

Posted at 8:50 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 10:50:53-04

A stampede at a stadium during Madagascar’s independence day celebrations killed 16 people and left 101 people injured, an official told CNN.

The incident happened at the entrance of the stadium as the crowd jostled to get through the gate at the Mahamasina stadium in the capital Antananarivo.

“The gate was not large enough for the crowd,” said General Richard Ravalomanana, who told CNN the incident happened at the moment Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was leaving the stadium after attending a military parade at the stadium earlier in the day.

More than 100 people were wounded in the chaos that ensued from the jostling at the stadium where thousands had gathered for a concert during the national celebrations on Wednesday afternoon.

The tragedy has cast a shadow over events marking the country’s 59 years of independence from France.

Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina, his wife, and other government officials visited the injured at the Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona Hospital in the city to offer their condolences after the incident.

The president wished the wounded a speedy recovery and announced his government would foot the hospital bill for those injured.

“My wife and I are upset by the tragic jostling at the entrance to the #Mahamasina stadium. All our condolences to the families of the victims and a speedy recovery to the wounded. The State is at your side, and light will be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy,” Rajoelina said in a Twitter post.

Wednesday incident is the second to occur at the stadium in the capital.

Nearly 40 soccer fans were injured, and one person was crushed to death last September as they tried to gain entrance to the same stadium.